Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 11.11.2015

Dr. Giuseppe Andò University of Messina, Messina, ItalyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Giuseppe Andò University of Messina, Messina, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Andò: Patients’ preference for radial access for coronary angiography and percutaneous intervention is paralleled by an almost complete abolition of access-site bleeding. Given the deleterious impact of any clinically relevant bleeding event on short- and long-term outcomes, the use of radial access should translate into a reduction in net adverse events, especially in patients with high risk of bleeding such as those with an acute coronary syndrome. Nonetheless, studies conducted over the past decade by pioneers of radial access were relatively small and not sufficiently compelling to affect guidelines and endorse a change in current practice. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Andò: We have pooled in the present study 4 well-conducted, large, multicenter studies with data from centers with different expertise in radial procedures across America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. We demonstrate that the use of radial access can reduce mortality in patients with acute coronary syndromes undergoing invasive management by a consistent reduction in major bleeding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, Stroke, University of Michigan / 10.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Geoffrey Barnes, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer Cardiovascular Medicine and Vascular Medicine University of Michigan Health System Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Barnes: Although warfarin has been the primary anticoagulant used for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation for over 60 years, four new direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have been introduced into the market since 2010. Dabigatran, which directly inhibits thrombin, was found to have better prevention of ischemic stroke and a significant reduction in hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding strokes) for patients with atrial fibrillation at intermediate and high risk of stroke.  Prior cost-effectiveness studies have shown that dabigatran is cost-effective from both the societal and payer (usually Medicare) perspectives.  However, none of those studies looked at the patient’s out-of-pocket costs and the impact of prescription drug coverage Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Barnes: We found that patients with prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) had significant cost savings when choosing dabigatran over warfarin.  This is primarily because of the reduction in both types of stroke as well not needing to have frequent blood draws, as are required by warfarin.  However, when patients do not have prescription drug coverage, the costs for dabigatran are quite high.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Duke, Education, Gender Differences, Heart Disease / 10.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pamela S. Douglas, MD, MACC, FASE, FAHA Ursula Geller Professor of Research in Cardiovascular Disease Duke University School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Douglas: The impetus for our study was the concern that cardiology as a profession might be enhanced by greater diversity. By not attracting women in larger numbers (9% of FACCs are female), our fellowships have incomplete access to the talent pool of outstanding residents, and we do not have a diverse group of clinicians to care for our increasingly diverse patient population, or of researchers to explore potentially important health care disparities. Our findings were twofold: first, job descriptions for men and women cardiologists are dramatically different. Men are much more likely to do invasive procedures while women are more likely to see patients and perform imaging/noninvasive tests.  While there were slightly more women working part time than men this was still rare, and the difference in number of days worked was just 6, across an entire year. The second finding was that there was a significant difference in compensation. Unadjusted, this was over $110, 000 per year; after very robust adjustment using over 100  personal, practice, job description and productivity measures, the difference was $37, 000 per year, or over a million dollars across a career. A separate independent economic analysis of wage differentials yield a similar difference of $32,000 per year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 10.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Cooper, MD Fellow in Cardiovascular Diseases Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cooper: Heart failure guidelines recommend routine monitoring of serum potassium and renal function in patients treated with a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA). Specific monitoring recommendations include: within 2-3 days of initiation of the drug, again at 7 days, monthly for at least 3 months, then every 3 months thereafter. However, no large studies had evaluated compliance with these safety recommendations in routine clinical practice. Using Medicare claims data from 2011, we evaluated monitoring of serum creatinine and potassium levels among patients with heart failure initiated on an MRA. After MRA initiation, rates of guideline-recommended laboratory monitoring of creatinine and potassium were low. Of 10,443 Medicare beneficiaries included in this study, 91.6% received pre-initiation testing; however, only 13.3% received appropriate testing in the first 10 days after drug initiation and 29.9% received appropriate testing in the first 3 months. Only 7.2% of patients received guideline-recommended laboratory monitoring both before and after MRA initiation. Chronic kidney disease was associated with a greater likelihood of appropriate testing (relative risk, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.58-2.13), as was concomitant diuretic use (relative risk, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.44-2.21). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 10.11.2015

Josep Rodés-Cabau, MD Director, Catheterization and Interventional Laboratories Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University Quebec City, Quebec, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Josep Rodés-Cabau, MD Director, Catheterization and Interventional Laboratories Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University Quebec City, Quebec, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rodés-Cabau: The occurrence of new-onset migraine attacks has been reported in about 15% of patients following transcatheter atrial septal defect (ASD) closure. Prior observational studies suggested a reduction of migraine headache post-ASD closure with the use of clopidogrel on top of aspirin. Our study (the prospective randomized CANOA trial) showed that the use of clopidogrel (in addition to aspirin) following transcatheter ASD closure was associated with a significant reduction in the occurrence and number of new-onset migraine attacks within the 3 months following the procedure. Also, among patients with migraine attacks, those receiving clopidogrel therapy experience less-severe migraine attacks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 10.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Christina Mangurian MD Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Department of Psychiatry's first Director of Diversity Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mangurian: People with severe mental illness (SMI, e.g., schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) die 25 years earlier than the general population, often from cardiovascular disease.  The ADA and APA guidelines recommend annual diabetes screening of this population when taking certain antipsychotic medications.  Despite these guidelines, nearly 70% of this population remain unscreened.  This has huge public health implications and likely costs our public health system a tremendous amount in undiagnosed disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, PAD / 09.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farzin Fakhry, MD PhD Candidate Depts. of Epidemiology & Radiology Erasmus MC Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Myriam Hunink MD, PhD Professor Professor of Radiology and Clinical Epidemiology Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam Adjunct Professor of Health Decision Science Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Intermittent claudication is the classical symptomatic form of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and affects approximately 20-40 million people worldwide. These patients experience significant functional disability resulting in a sedentary lifestyle and reduced quality of life. In the Endovascular Revascularization And Supervised Exercise (ERASE) study we compared a combination therapy of endovascular revascularization plus supervised exercise versus the recommended care of supervised exercise only as first-line treatment for patients with intermittent claudication. Results from the ERASE study showed that after one year follow up patients in both groups showed significant improvements in their treadmill walking distance and disease specific quality of life. Yet, patients receiving the combination therapy had more rapid and significantly greater improvement in their walking performance and disease specific quality of life compared to the patients following a supervised exercise program only. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, JAMA / 09.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David Bluemke MD, PhD, MsB Director of Radiology and Imaging Sciences NIH Clinical Center Bethesda, MD  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bluemke: Heart disease is the most common reason for death and disability of adults in the United States and worldwide. This study evaluated 1,840 adults in six communities throughout the United States, ages 45-84. In normal adults, the heart is a muscle, but various injuries to the heart (the most severe being a myocardial infarction/ heart attack) occur over an individual’s lifetime. These injuries result in heart muscle being replaced by a scar composed of fibrous tissue. The main finding is that even in healthy, middle and older adults, about 1 in 12 adults in the U.S. have developed scars in the heart. Most of these (80%) are not detected by their doctor, or by other tests such as ECG. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Pharmacology / 08.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frederic T. (Josh) Billings IV, MD, Msc Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical Center  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Billings: Acute kidney injury (AKI) following cardiac surgery is common (affects 20-30% of patients), and even mild forms of AKI are independently associated with a five-fold increase in death. Statins, commonly prescribed to reduce cholesterol concentrations and cardiovascular disease, affect several mechanisms underlying surgical AKI. Observational studies comparing rates of AKI between statin users and non-users have yielded inconsistent results and don’t assess the effect of statin use during the surgical period. In a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial of 653 cardiac surgery patients, we found that high-dose atorvastatin given prior to surgery, the day of surgery and daily postoperatively did not affect AKI. In fact, among statin-naïve patients with pre-existing kidney disease, rates of AKI were higher in those randomized to atorvastatin compared to those randomized to placebo. In patients who were using statins prior to the study, rates of AKI were similar between those randomized to atorvastatin and those randomized to placebo (short-term withdrawal), regardless of baseline kidney function. Safety markers of muscle and liver toxicity were not affected by statin treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, Vitamin D / 03.11.2015

Dr Emad Al-Dujaili Reader in Biochemistry and Nutrition, Queen Margaret University Department of Health Science Queen Margaret UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Emad Al-Dujaili Reader in Biochemistry and Nutrition, Queen Margaret University Department of Health Science Queen Margaret University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Al-Dujaili: Recent studies have implicated vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for Cardiovascular disease and its deficiency is a potential biological predictor of increased rates of CVD. We have done 2 earlier studies investigating the effects of Vitamin D intake on Blood pressure and the stress hormone level cortisol and found that people taking the supplement of Vitamin D had reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those who took the placebo. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus and oxidative stress and reduced exercise performance. For instance, the Framingham offspring study proved that low levels of vitamin D are independently related to Cardiovascular disease incidence. In this placebo-controlled study, We have observed that people given 50ug of Vitamin D daily for 2 weeks showed a significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure, reduced urinary free cortisol (the hormone that produces stress and high blood pressure if its levels are high. Moreover, the distance cycled in 20 minutes significantly increased by 30% with slightly less efforts compared with that before Vitamin D supplement. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease / 30.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yung-Tai Chen MD Division of Nephrology Department of Medicine Taipei City Hospital Heping Fuyou Branch Taipei, Taiwan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chen: Recent studies concluded that dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors can provide glycemic control but also raised concerns about the risk of heart failure in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). However, large-scale studies of the effects of DPP-4 inhibitors versus sulfonylureas (SUs) on cardiovascular outcomes when used as add-ons to metformin therapy remain scarce. Our study showed that compared to SUs, DPP-4 inhibitors were associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, stroke and hypoglycemia as an add-on to metformin. Besides, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors had comparable risks of hospitalization for heart failure to sulfonylureas as add-ons to metformin. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Heart Disease / 30.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan R. Enriquez, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiology University of Missouri- Kansas City Director, Coronary Care Unit Truman Medical Center  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Enriquez:  
  • In 2009, U.S. legislation appropriated tens of billions of dollars to promote the use of electronic health records (EHRs).
  • Approximately 4 million hospitalizations for cardiovascular diagnoses occur annually in the U.S., which are more hospitalizations than for any other category of disease.  Therefore, evaluating the use of EHRs in these settings can help us understand how to best optimize the care and outcomes of a huge set of patients.
(more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 28.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael DMiedema, MD, MPH Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation Abbott Northwestern Hospital Minneapolis, MN Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Miedema: A healthy diet is an essential component in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. A dietary pattern high in fruits and vegetables has been associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease outcomes in multiple observation cohorts of middle-aged and older adults. However, the cardiovascular impact of fruit and vegetable intake in younger adults is less clear. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Miedema: To evaluate this relationship, we studied 2,506 young adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study to determine the association between fruit and vegetable intake during young adulthood and subsequent development of coronary artery calcium 20 years later. After adjusting for age, gender, and lifestyle variables, including smoking and physical activity, we found an inverse relationship between fruit and vegetable and subsequent coronary artery calcium across tertiles of fruit and vegetable intake (p-value <0.001). Individuals in the top third of fruit and vegetable intake at baseline had 26% lower odds of developing calcified plaque 20 years later. This inverse linear relationship remained significant after adjusting for fruit and vegetable intake at year 20 as well as after adjustment for other dietary variables such as dairy, nuts, fish, salt, and refined grains. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, JACC / 24.10.2015

H.A. (Hendrika) van den Ham PharmD Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences Utrecht University The Netherlands.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: H.A. (Hendrika) van den Ham PharmD Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences Utrecht University The Netherlands. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. van den Ham: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with a substantial risk of ischemic stroke and thromboembolism. The CHADSand the CHA2DS2-VASc risk scores are developed to guide the decision to prescribe anticoagulants. Recently a new clinically-based risk score, the ATRIA study risk score, was developed. We compared the predictive ability of the ATRIA risk score with the CHADS2 and CHA2DS2-VASc risk scores in a large, independent, community-based cohort of Atrial fibrillation patients in the United Kingdom. We found that the ATRIA score more accurately identified low risk patients that the CHA2DS2-VASc score assigned to higher risk categories.  Such reclassification of stroke risk could prevent overuse of anticoagulants in very low stroke risk patients with Atrial fibrillation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 21.10.2015

Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC Crémazie Est Montréal, Québec MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC Crémazie Est Montréal, Québec  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Auger: Congenital heart defects are the most common defects found in infants, but the causes are for the most part unknown. Only about 15-20% can be linked to a clear cause, such as a genetics or maternal infection.  Recently, certain imbalances of angiogenic signaling proteins that control blood vessel development have been identified in individuals with congenital heart defects. Similar imbalances in the same biomarkers have been observed in women with preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy that occurs in 3-5% of pregnant women. Because of this similarity, we sought to determine the relationship that preeclampsia has with the presence of congenital heart defects in infants. What we found was that there was a significant association between preeclampsia and congenital heart defects. In particular, preeclampsia that was diagnosed before 34 weeks of pregnancy was significantly associated with critical and noncritical heart defects and seemed to be the driving factor. There was increased risk for defects involving all general structures of the heart, although the absolute risk of congenital heart defects was low (16.8 per 1,000 infants). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 20.10.2015

Jerry D. Estep, MD, FACC, FASE Associate Professor of Clinical Cardiology Houston Methodist Institute of Academic Medicine Section Head of Heart Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support, Division of Heart Failure Medical Director, Heart Transplant & LVAD Program Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center Houston MethodistMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jerry D. Estep, MD, FACC, FASE Associate Professor of Clinical Cardiology Houston Methodist Institute of Academic Medicine Section Head of Heart Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support, Division of Heart Failure Medical Director, Heart Transplant & LVAD Program Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center Houston Methodist   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Estep: Data for left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) in non-inotrope-dependent advanced heart failure (HF) patients are limited. The risk-benefit tradeoff of LVADs versus optimal medical management (OMM) in this patient cohort is not well understood.  ROADMAP is the first prospective, nonrandomized, observational study comparing LVAD support to OMM in advanced, ambulatory HF patients who are not dependent on intravenous inotropic support, and meet the FDA-approved indications for LVAD destination therapy.  The main  5 findings from the ROADMAP Study include the following: 1) LVAD patients were more severely ill, with more INTERMACS profile 4 compared to OMM patients (65% LVAD vs. 34% OMM, p < 0.001); 2) more LVAD patients met the primary endpoint of survival on original therapy with improvement in 6 minute walk distance of at least 75 meters at 12 months (39% LVAD vs. 21% OMM; [OR: 2.4 [95% CI: 1.2 to 4.8]; p = 0.012) with differences in the primary endpoint primarily due to the use of delayed LVADs in the OMM group; 3) on the basis of as-treated (event free) analysis, 12-month survival (freedom from death, urgent transplant, or delayed LVAD) was greater for LVAD versus OMM (80 ± 4% vs. 63 ± 5%, p = 0.022); 4) adverse events (AEs) were higher in LVAD patients, at 1.89 events/patient-year (eppy), primarily driven by bleeding (1.22 eppy), than with OMM, at 0.83 eppy, primarily driven by worsening HF (0.68 eppy);  and 5) health-related quality of life and depression improved from baseline more significantly with LVADs than with OMM (Δvisual analog score [VAS]: 29 ± 25 vs. 10 ± 22, p < 0.001 and ΔPHQ9: -5 ± 7 vs. -1 ± 5, p < 0.001). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JACC, Pediatrics / 18.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ashley Winning, ScD, MPH Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Winning: Several studies have found associations between psychological distress and heart disease and diabetes; however, much of the research has measured distress and disease risk in adulthood and we can’t tell how long people have been distressed or how far-reaching the effects of distress are. Some work has shown that childhood distress is associated with adult health, indicating that distress may start to affect health even earlier in life than we thought. However most of the research has measured distress at a single point in time so we have not been able to answer questions regarding effects of persistent distress or if effects on health are less bad if people become less distressed over time. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Winning: Distress at any period in the life course was associated with increased cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk in adulthood (age 45). Not surprisingly, those with high levels of distress in both childhood and adulthood had the greatest cardiometabolic risk. The most striking finding is that high levels of childhood distress (measured in childhood) predicted heightened adult disease risk, even when there was no evidence that these high levels of distress persisted into adulthood. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Radiology / 17.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andre R. M. Paixao MD Division of Cardiology Arkansas Heart Hospital Little Rock, AR. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Paixao: Coronary artery calcium (CAC) measured by computed tomography has emerged as a powerful predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) but most of the evidence behind it comes from cohorts comprised of older individuals (mean age 62 years).Coronary artery calcium has a very strong association with age and young individuals tend to have a higher proportion of noncalcified plaque so validating the predictive value of CAC in a younger cohort is of extreme importance.   Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Paixao: Using data from the Dallas Heart Study, a multi-ethnic cohort comprised of younger individuals (mean age 44 years), the addition of Coronary artery calcium to a traditional risk factor model significantly improved discrimination and risk classification (change in c-statistic = 0.03; NRI = 0.216, p = 0.012). We also performed a meta-analysis of prior studies and observed that our findings are of similar magnitude to those reported in older individuals (NRI = 0.200). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, JACC / 16.10.2015

Laura Mauri, MD, MSc Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura Mauri, MD, MSc Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA 02115  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mauri: The Dual Antiplatelet Therapy (DAPT) Study, the largest randomized controlled trial to date comparing different durations of dual antiplatelet therapy (thienopyridine plus aspirin) after coronary stenting, found that patients who were free from major ischemic or bleeding events at 1 year after coronary stenting (either drug-eluting [DES] or bare metal [BMS]), and who were compliant with their antiplatelet therapy, experienced significant reductions in stent thrombosis and myocardial infarction (MI) but increases in moderate or severe bleeding when treated with 30 months of thienopyridine plus aspirin, as compared with 12 months. We analyzed these outcomes in a post hoc analysis of the subset of patients who received everolimus-eluting stents (EES) in the DAPT Study, because EES were the most frequently used stent in the study, and because data suggest that EES may have lower rates of stent thrombosis when compared with paclitaxel-eluting stents. We found that 30 months of dual antiplatelet therapy after coronary stenting (compared to 12 months) was associated with reduced rates of stent thrombosis and MI, no difference in a composite outcome of death, MI and stroke, and increased rates of moderate or severe bleeding. As found in the primary analysis of the DAPT Study, 30 months of dual antiplatelet therapy was associated with increased all-cause mortality, largely due to increased non-cardiovascular mortality. Bleeding-related deaths accounted for a minority of these deaths, where as cancer-related deaths in patients with pre-existing cancer diagnoses accounted for the majority of the mortality difference. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Women's Heart Health / 16.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kate Smolina, PhD Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Centre for Health Services and Policy Research School of Population and Public Health The University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC  Canada  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Smolina: Women take fewer cardiovascular medications than men in an outpatient setting and there is limited information in the literature as to why. There are two possible explanations: this is either a consequence of prescribing behaviour by physicians or adherence behaviour by patients – or a combination of the two. This study showed that younger women are less likely to be prescribed or to fill their first prescription after a heart attack compared to younger men. But once the therapy is actually started, we found no sex differences in adherence. This is very helpful because it identifies the point on the continuum of care at which the disparity occurs and where we need to focus interventions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Health Care Systems, Heart Disease, JACC / 14.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Salim S. Virani, M.D., Ph.D Investigator, Health Policy, Quality & Informatics Program, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Staff Cardiologist, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Associate Director for Research, Cardiology Fellowship Training Program Associate Professor (tenured), Section of Cardiovascular Research Baylor College of Medicine  Houston Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Virani: The increase in Americans securing health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, in combination with a projected shortage of specialty and non-specialty physicians, has led to a growing pressure on the existing physician workforce in America.  One proposed solution is to increase the scope of practice for advanced practice providers (APPs) (nurse practitioners [NPs] and physician assistants [PAs].  An important aspect of this discussion is whether the quality of care provided by APPs is comparable to that provided by physicians. The study utilized data from the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) National Cardiovascular Data Registry PINNACLE Registry® to examine whether there were clinically meaningful differences in the quality of coronary artery disease (CAD), heart failure (HF), and atrial fibrillation (AF) care delivered by advanced practice providers  versus physicians in a national sample of cardiology practices. The primary analyses included 883 providers (716 physicians and 167 APPs) in 41 practices who cared for 459,669 patients. The mean number of patients seen by APPs (260.7) was lower compared to that seen by physicians (581.2). Compliance with most CAD, HF, and AF measures was comparable, except for a higher rate of smoking cessation screening and intervention (adjusted rate ratio [RR] 1.14, 95% CI 1.03-1.26) and cardiac rehabilitation referral (RR 1.40, 95% CI 1.16-1.70) among CAD patients receiving care from APPs. Compliance with all eligible CAD measures was low for both (12.1% and 12.2% for APPs and physicians, respectively) with no significant difference. Results were consistent when comparing practices with both physicians and APPs (n = 41) and physician-only practices (n = 49). (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Nutrition / 13.10.2015

Iris Shai MD PhD Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases Dep. of Public Health Faculty of Health SciencesMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Iris Shai MD PhD Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases Dep. of Public Health Faculty of Health Sciences Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shai: Despite enormous contribution of observational studies, clinical recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption remain controversial, particularly for people with diabetes, due to lack of long-term, randomized controlled trials, which are needed for evidence-based medicine. People with diabetes are more susceptible to developing cardiovascular diseases than the general population and have lower levels of HDL-c. Also, it is uncertain if red wine confers any advantage over white wine or whether the ethanol is the primary mediator of alcoholic beverages related beneficial associations.  The two-year CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes and Ethanol (CASCADE) RCT was performed among 224 controlled diabetes patients (aged 45 to 75), who generally abstained from alcohol. Red wine was found to be superior in improving overall metabolic profiles, mainly by modestly improving the lipid profile. As for glycemic control and blood pressure, the effect of both, red or white wine, was dependent on ADH enzyme polymorphism, suggesting personalized approach. Overall, wine of either type did not effect change in liver function tests, adiposity, or adverse events/symptoms. However, sleep quality was significantly improved in both wine groups, compared with the water control group. All comparisons were adjusted for changes in clinical, medical and drug therapy parameters occurring among patients during the years of the study. The trial completed with adherence rate of 87 percent after 2 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Heart Disease, JACC, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 13.10.2015

W.H. Wilson Tang, MD, FACC Assistant Professor in Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Staff, Section of Heart Failure & Cardiac Transplant Medicine Assistant Program Director, General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) The Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, OHMedicalResearch.com Interview with: W.H. Wilson Tang, MD, FACC  Assistant Professor in Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Staff, Section of Heart Failure & Cardiac Transplant Medicine Assistant Program Director, General Clinical Research Center The Cleveland Clinic  Cleveland, OH Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tang: Cardiac function is a key determinant of outcomes after surgery, especially transplantation. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) poses a unique scenario, as the metabolic and uremic derangements that result from this condition lead to adverse cardiac remodeling, and kidney transplantation offers a potential for reverse remodeling. We studied patients who underwent kidney transplantation and found that echocardiogram following transplantation demonstrated consistent and significant improvement in cardiac structure and function. Post-transplant improvement in anemia was a vital factor that independently predicted such positive changes, whereas post-transplant changes in blood pressure, renal function at 12 months, and dialysis duration duration did not. Moreover, patients that demonstrated reverse remodeling had outcomes comparable to those with normal baseline cardiac function. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Dermatology, Heart Disease, NIH / 12.10.2015

Nehal Mehta, M.D., M.S.C.E., F.A.H.A. Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Section of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases NIHMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nehal Mehta, M.D., M.S.C.E., F.A.H.A. Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Section of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases NIH Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mehta: Psoriasis increases cardiovascular disease (CVD), and this study shows for the first time that the amount of psoriasis on the skin is mirrored in the blood vessels by increasing blood vessel inflammation. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Mehta: Even one plaque may be too many if we are seeing a relationship between skin disease severity and vascular inflammation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cleveland Clinic, Heart Disease, JACC, Kidney Disease / 12.10.2015

Dr. Wilson Tang MD Professor of Medicine Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Case Western Reserve University Director of the Center for Clinical Genomics Cleveland ClinicMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wilson Tang MD Professor of Medicine Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Case Western Reserve University Director of the Center for Clinical Genomics Cleveland Clinic  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tang: Renal impairment has long been associated with worse outcomes in acute heart failure. Administration of diuretic therapy often obscures accurate assessment of renal function by urine output.  Despite extensive literature suggesting the poor outcomes in those with a rise in creatinine following treatment, recent data has suggested that in the presence of effective diuresis, this phenomenon likely represents hemoconcentration and azotemia rather than acute kidney injury.  We observed that using a novel and sensitive biomarker that identified acute kidney injury, specific to tubular injury, we can identify those at higher risk of adverse outcomes in patents admitted for acute heart failure.   However, after adjusting for standard risk factors, the prognostic value was clearly attenuated. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JACC, University Texas, UT Southwestern / 07.10.2015

Ambarish Pandey, MD Cardiology Fellow, PGY5 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ambarish Pandey, MD Cardiology Fellow, PGY5 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Berry: Physical inactivity is considered a major modifiable risk factor for coronary artery disease and the current guidelines recommend atleast 150 min/week (~ 500 MET-min/week) of moderate intensity physical activity to reduce the burden of coronary artery disease. In contrast, the role of physical activity in reducing risk of heart failure is not emphasized in the current guidelines. This is particularly relevant considering the increasing burden of heart failure in the community. Against this background, we performed this study to the dose-response relationship between physical activity levels and risk of heart failure. We observed a dose dependent inverse association between physical activity levels and heart failure risk. Furthermore, we observed that the current guideline recommended physical activity levels (500 MET-min/week) are associated with only modest reduction in HF risk (< 10%). In contrast, a substantial reduction in heart failure risk was observed at twice and four times the recommended physical activity levels (19% and 35% risk reduction respectively) (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Metabolic Syndrome, Pediatrics / 07.10.2015

Mark DeBoerMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mark DeBoer, MD Children's Hospital's Department of Pediatrics University of Virginia  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DeBoer: We have been interested in how the severity of the metabolic syndrome relates to long term risks, both for children and adults.  We formulated a score that takes the different components of the metabolic syndrome (body mass index, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, triglycerides and high density cholesterol) for an individual and forms a score estimating how severe the metabolic syndrome is in that individual.  When we looked at long-term data from individuals followed for 40 years, we found that children and adults with higher scores were more much likely to develop cardiovascular disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Statins / 07.10.2015

Giancarlo Marenzi, M.D. Centro Cardiologico Monzino Milan, ItalyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giancarlo Marenzi, M.D. Centro Cardiologico Monzino Milan, Italy  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Marenzi: Pre-treatment with statins in patients with stable angina or non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes undergoing elective or urgent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has been shown to reduce myocardial injury and to improve clinical outcomes. Conversely, data on a cardio-protective effect of statin pre-treatment in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients undergoing primary PCI are more controversial. In this prospective study, we evaluated infarct size and myocardial salvage by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in a consecutive cohort of 230 STEMI patients undergoing primary PCI, comparing patients on chronic statin with those without. Patients on chronic statin therapy showed an almost 40% lower enzymatic (troponin I) peak value, when compared to patients without. In parallel, a 32% smaller infarct size and a 24% higher myocardial salvage were found in the statin group, as compared to those without. In the entire population, no significant association was found between infarct size and LDL-cholesterol levels at hospital admission. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Surgical Research / 05.10.2015

Prof. Dr. med. Patrick Meybohm, MHBA Leitender Oberarzt Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin und Schmerztherapie Universitätsklinikum FrankfurtMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. med. Patrick Meybohm, MHBAConsultant for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine University Hospital Frankfurt Dept. Of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care Medicine and Pain Therapy Frankfurt Germany Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Meybohm: Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is reported to reduce biomarkers of ischemic and reperfusion injury in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, but uncertainty about clinical outcomes remains. We conducted a prospective, double-blind, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving adults who were scheduled for elective cardiac surgery requiring cardiopulmonary bypass. The trial compared upper-limb RIPC with a sham intervention. The primary end point was a composite of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, or acute renal failure up to the time of hospital discharge. Secondary end points included the occurrence of any individual component of the primary end point by day 90. A total of 1403 patients underwent randomization. The full analysis set comprised 1385 patients (692 in the RIPC group and 693 in the sham-Remote ischemic preconditioning group). There was no significant between-group difference in the rate of the composite primary end point (99 patients [14.3%] in the RIPC group and 101 [14.6%] in the sham-RIPC group, P=0.89) or of any of the individual components: death (9 patients [1.3%] and 4 [0.6%], respectively; P=0.21), myocardial infarction (47 [6.8%] and 63 [9.1%], P=0.12), stroke (14 [2.0%] and 15 [2.2%], P=0.79), and acute renal failure (42 [6.1%] and 35 [5.1%], P=0.45). The results were similar in the per-protocol analysis. No treatment effect was found in any subgroup analysis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, JAMA, Surgical Research / 05.10.2015

Mads Emil Jørgensen Copenhagen University Hospital..., MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mads E. Jørgensen, MB Cardiovascular Research Center Gentofte Hospital University of Copenhagen, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many years there has been a wide use of beta blockers in the non-cardiac surgery setting with the intent to protect the heart. Within recent years, this field of research has opened up to new studies evaluating in detail which patient subgroups do benefit from this therapy and which may actually be at increased risk. The current study evaluated chronic beta blocker use and risks of perioperative complications in a rather low risk population of patients with hypertension, but without cardiac, kidney or liver disease. Among 55,000 patients receiving at least two antihypertensive drugs, we found that patients treated with a beta blocker were at increased risks of complications during surgery and 30-day after surgery, compared to patients treated with other antihypertensive drugs only. In various subgroup analyses (by age, gender, diabetes, surgery risk etc.) the findings were consistent although challenged in power. (more…)